Like most American’s I was interesting in the news on May 1st that Bin Laden was finally dead. My first feeling was one of relief. I remember thinking “finally.” That feeling was later mixed with skepticism when hearing the circumstances surrounding the body (no photos of corpse, hurry up burial at sea etc.) but this is not a blog about conspiracy theories.
As a Christian, the more I more I saw people celebrate the more convicted I became. I thought, “What is the appropriate response for me as a pastor and even more importantly as a follower of Jesus?”
I’m not presuming to tell you how you should feel. I’m just trying to make us all take a breath and think for moment. A little WWJD (What Would Jesus Do) time. Doesn’t God sorrow even when evil men die?
Now I understand the concept of a just war. The Bible is filled with people being put to death for rejecting God or attacking Israel. There must be the concept of a just war in society to defend the weak or stop those committing evil. My questions come because I also Jesus weeping over the people who have rejected His salvation. (Matthew 23:37)
Look at this warning from the Bible…
Don’t rejoice when your enemies fall; don’t be happy when they stumble. For the Lord will be displeased with you and will turn his anger away from them. – Proverbs 24:17-18
This verse teaches us to be careful not to rejoice in death. I would think, especially not to rejoice that someone was sent to an eternal hell. I celebrate our troops who serve selflessly to preserve our freedom and safety. I even celebrate that fact that Bin Laden’s death will probably save many other lives. I can even feel a sense of satisfaction that justice has been served. I just question the celebration.
Psalm 37:28 says, “The Lord loves Justice.” I know you’re thinking, “This terrorist finally got what he deserved.” and it’s true. However, I don’t want God to give me what I deserve because we all deserve hell. (Romans 3:10-23)
The Apostle Paul was a murderer, so was King David. When they repented God forgave them. I have had the privilege of ministering to murders before and the main message I bring is always grace and forgiveness for all we’ve done.
The question that bring this situation into focus is this…Would we have celebrated as much if Bin Laden had repented and accepted Christ?
Now again, I’m not pointing fingers and trying to tell you what to feel or that your feelings are wrong. I’m just asking myself…”Should I celebrate the death of anyone, no matter what good comes from it?”
It’s just a simple question.